My fingers began to form a fist, digging my nails into my palms to keep myself from reacting.
Stu and I have known each other for 8 years, since Lucy was a puppy. He’s a dog park friend. We are at opposite ends of politics, and I jumped on him once, telling him not to bring it to the dog park. It needs to be a safe place for all, I told him.
A couple of weeks ago, no one else was around, and he asked me how I thought Biden is doing. He didn’t like my answer, and we fell silent. Then I made a mistake. I asked him what he respected about the former president and the republican party. He could not answer. But he burst forth with a stream of hatred and rage about the things he didn’t like about the other side. I interrupted , saying, you aren’t answering my question. He began again and couldn’t do it. He was just all about his rage, his fear. He talked about all the violence democrats are bringing into the world by supporting violent groups like Black Lives Matter. "Just go to Seattle, you’ll probably get killed by the fighting in the streets," he told me. A church is quieter than the streets of Seattle these days.
As he went on, it became clear he was afraid of me. He was afraid of me...that I would perpetrate some kind of violence on him. What the fuck has he been listening to? And which one of us is more likely to be armed with a concealed weapon?
I eventually got up and walked away, knowing that the most dangerous thing I could do would be to let my lion brake from its cage. Still, he bellowed at me about the senseless massacres in the streets. I couldn’t help myself. Looking over my shoulder, I said, “But you apparently support weaponizing children. Kyle Rittenhouse.” I turned and continued on as he shouted at my back, “You think he did something wrong? Do you? Do you?” I kept walking. It took days before the sound of a deep-throated growl faded from inside my cage.
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